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Parshas Matos-Masei - Rishon with Rashi

Because this week we are learning TWO parshas together, the Chumash is longer than usual!

We learn about making promises. Hashem tells Moshe to fight Midyan before he passes away, and Moshe does it right away!

Promises: Hashem tells Moshe to teach the Yidden the mitzvos about Nedarim and Shevuos, two kinds of promises a person can make.

Here are some of the things the Torah teaches:

- If a person over Bar or Bas Mitzvah makes a Neder or a Shevuah he has to keep it
- Sometimes a father can take away his daughter’s promise
- Sometimes a husband can take away his wife’s promise

War against Midyan: Hashem told Moshe, “Take revenge for the Yidden on Midyan, and then you will pass away.”

Even though Moshe knew that he would pass away not long after this war, he didn’t wait! He did what Hashem wanted right away. He told the Yidden to get ready for war, and fight against the Midyanim because of what they did to the Yidden!

(When Moshe Rabbeinu tells the Yidden to get ready for war, he uses the word “Heichaltzu.” There is a very famous maamar of the Rebbe Rashab on this posuk, that is called “Heichaltzu.” It teaches us about the Ruchnius Midyan, which is Sinas Chinam, and how we can win over it!

Moshe asked that there should be 1,000 men from each Shevet, even Shevet Levi, ready to fight. Even though the Yidden didn’t want Moshe to pass away, they agreed to do the war right away.

After the last war (with Sichon and Og), the Yidden had taken a lot of gold and silver. This made their Yetzer Tovs a little weaker, and made them able to fall for Bilaam’s trick and do the aveira of marrying the daughters of Midyan. So this time, Moshe told the Yidden not to keep anything from the war, so the same thing won’t happen again chas veshalom. He sent Pinchas with the clothes of the Kohen Gadol to give them extra zechus which will help them win the war.

The Yidden attacked Midyan and killed all the men. Bilaam (who had come to get paid for his idea of Midyan tricking the Yidden into doing aveiros) did a magic trick and made the 5 kings of Midyan fly up in the air! Pinchas used the Tzitz of the Kohen Gadol, and the kings fell down and were killed. Bilaam tried to convince the Yidden that they should stop fighting since they will probably lose, but the Yidden killed him also.

The Yidden took all of the women and children, and the animals and money of Midyan, back with them to Moshe. They didn’t keep anything for themselves.



119 (first half)

Today’s Tehillim is the first half of kapitel Kuf-Yud-Tes. It is such a long kapitel that we say half on one day, and half on the next!

The last posuk of today’s Tehillim, which starts with a Lamed, is “Lechol Tichla Ra’isi Keitz, Rechava Mitzvas’cha Me’od.” “I have seen an end to every goal, but Your mitzvah is very wide.”

The Rebbe Rashab explains this posuk according to Chassidus, in his famous hemshech Tof-Reish-Samech-Vov. (A hemshech is a group of maamorim that are connected to each other, and help us understand one inyan very very well. This sefer has 61 maamorim, and explains the reason Hashem made the world and how the avodah of Yidden fulfills that purpose.) There are many different meforshim on this posuk, and the maamarim in “Samech-Vov” explain them according to Chassidus.

Lechol Tichla” is like the words “Klos Hanefesh,” the strong wanting of the neshama to become close to Hashem. Even though it is important to feel this way so that we will do mitzvos properly, it is still just a feeling — and any feeling that a person can have can be measured.

But “Rechava Mitzvas’cha Me’od” — a mitzvah has NO limits! A mitzvah, even though we do it with limited Gashmius things, isn’t based on our feeling of wanting to be close to Hashem. It’s what Hashem wants, and Hashem has no limits. So our mitzvos are able to be much stronger than anything we can ever feel. Their koach has no end, just like Hashem Who gave them to us!



Igeres Hateshuvah Perek Zayin

We explained the mitzvah of teshuvah and how we can connect back to Hashem in the first three perakim of Igeres HaTeshuvah. The next three perakim were about the ruchnius and “neshama” of Teshuvah. Now, the Alter Rebbe will teach us how to make sure our Teshuvah “stays.”

How do we make sure that our Teshuvah stays, and we don’t do the aveira again chas veshalom?

The Alter Rebbe tells us that we need two things!

1) Think about our neshamos. They came from being SO close to Hashem, and now are in a body where they feel so far away from Hashem. It’s like a neshama coming down from a tall building and ending up in a deep, dark hole in the ground!

When a person thinks about not-good things, his neshama, which is a part of Hashem, is stuck in that not- good thought too. It’s very embarrassing for the neshama to be in a place like that!

This should make us feel very bad for our neshama. By remembering this, it will help make sure our Teshuvah stays strong. We don’t ever want our neshama, which is part of Hashem, to be stuck in a place like that!

2) Tell the Yetzer Hara not to be so proud of himself. The Yetzer Hara gets us to do an aveira because it is chutzpadik! How else could it think of doing something Hashem doesn’t want? When we stop it from being so proud, it won’t be able to be so chutzpadik, and our teshuvah will be strong and lasting!



Chof-Hey Tammuz

Where does a Yid get the strength to do the right thing even when the guf doesn’t want, like when we’re not in the mood?

In today’s Hayom Yom we will see that there are two expressions in Chassidus which teach us about the koach which is in the neshama of a Yid, which helps us do the Ratzon of Hashem always!

The two expressions are:

1) A Yid Derkent Getlichkeit Un Filt Dem Lemaalah Min Hateva! A Yid recognizes Hashem and feels what is higher than nature, without needing any proofs for it

2) A Yid Nit Er Vil Nit Er Ken Zein Opgerisen Fun Getlichkeit! The neshama of a Yid, by nature, does not want and cannot allow itself to become separated from Hashem.

The Rebbe shows us how these two expressions are really one thing! Every Yid is ready to do what Hashem wants, not because he is going to get a prize for it, but because he knows his neshama is connected to Hashem and he CAN’T imagine doing something against what Hashem wants!

How can a Yid feel that, though, when we can’t see Hashem?

Because he recognizes that Hashem is there. He knows that everything happens because Hashem runs the world, and he FEELS a connection with Hashem even though he’s not able to see it.

With this koach of the neshama, he is able to do what Hashem wants, even if the guf is not in the mood.



Shiur #331 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #195, Asei #37

We learn two mitzvos in today’s Sefer Hamitzvos:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #195) A Ben Sorer Umoreh is an older kid who eats in a grubbe way and does other kinds of things that show that he will be full of aveiros. Being a Ben Sorer Umoreh is a big aveira and the Beis Din has to punish him!

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Kedoshim: לֹא תֹאכְלוּ עַל הַדָּם

The details are explained in Mesechta Sanhedrin perek Ches.

2) (Mitzvas Asei #37) Even though a Kohen is not allowed to become tomei by going near someone who passed away, like to a levayah or a cemetery, he is supposed to become tomei for the levayah of someone very close in his family.

This mitzvah is also where we learn that any person has the mitzvah to mourn (aveilus) for a close family member.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Emor: לָהּ יִטַּמָּא

The details are explained in Mesechta Mashkin (Moed Katan), and places in Mesechta Brachos, Kesubos, Yevamos, and Avodah Zarah.



Hilchos Mamrim - Aveil

In today’s Rambam, we are finishing Hilchos Mamrim and starting Hilchos Aveil.

Perek Zayin: In this perek of today’s Rambam we learn about the Ben Sorer Umoreh, a boy who acts in a certain way like a rasha. The Beis Din needs to have him killed so he won’t do more aveiros.

But if you look at the halachos, there are many, many details. If not all of the details are exactly right, he isn’t counted as a Ben Sorer Umoreh! For example, if he ate a meal like a rasha, but it was part of a mitzvah, or part of a different aveira, he is not punished.

There is an opinion in the Gemara that there never WAS a Ben Sorer Umoreh! This is one part of Torah that we learn even if we can never actually do it —“Drosh Vekabel Schar.”

We finish learning the halachos of Mamrim, and we learn the first two perakim about Aveilus, mourning.



Hilchos Tumas Ochalin - Perek Alef

In today’s Rambam, we start to learn about how food and drinks become Tomei.

Only a food that once got wet with certain kinds of liquids can become Tomei:

1) Water
2) Dew
3) Oil
4) Wine
5) Milk
6) Blood
7) Honey

The Rambam teaches us what kinds of things aren’t counted as a food or a drink, and can’t become tomei — like spices.



Hilchos Beis Habechirah

The Rebbe told us to learn about the Beis Hamikdash during the Three Weeks, to weaken a little bit the inyan of the Churban, and to speed up the building of the Third Beis Hamikdash!

In the Ezras Noshim of the Beis Hamikdash, there were four rooms, called “Lishkaos”. There was one in each corner of the Ezras Noshim. Here’s what they were called and what they were used for:

1) Lishkas HaShemanim — the Oil Room

In this room, you get wine, oil, and flour for your korbanos. Most korbanos needed these things as a Mincha along with the animal. But you don’t pay in this room! You need to bring a ticket for the kind of Mincha that you need, which you buy in a different place. Then you can pick up the right amounts of flour, wine, and oil.

2) Lishkas HaMetzora’im — the Metzora Room

This is the room where a Metzora (someone who had Tzoraas) would come to become Tahor.

3) Lishkas HaNezirim — the Nazir Room

This is where a Nazir would go to finish his Nezirus. The Korban Shelamim was cooked in here, and the hair of the Nazir was burned in the fire.

4) Lishkas HaEitzim — The Wood Room

This room is where the wood to use to burn on the Mizbeiach was kept. Kohanim who were not able to do avodah (like if they were too old or had a mum) would make sure that there were no worms in any of the wood. It is not appropriate to bring wormy wood on the Mizbeiach.


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Kavana in Brachos

We say many brachos during the day, beginning from the many brachos we say in Birchos Hashachar. But do we really know what we are saying?

The Rebbe explained how even a child can bring so much kedusha into the world by saying a bracha with kavana:

BaruchBlessed! The word “baruch” also comes from the word “mavrich,” to draw something down. Besides for praising Hashem when we make a bracha, we are also bringing down Hashem’s kedusha into the world!

AtaYou! We can only say “you” to someone who is right there with us. We say to Hashem, “Ata!” You are right here with me.

HavayaHashem! This name of Hashem has the words “Haya, Hoveh, Veyihiyeh,” “He was, He is, and He will be.” Hashem includes the past, present and future all together at once! This is also the koach Hashem uses to create everything.

Elokeinuour Hashem! Even though Hashem is so great and powerful, He is OUR Hashem. He creates us, and is our koach and chayus.

Melech Ha’olamKing of the world! By Yidden recognizing that Hashem is our koach and chayus, we fulfill the purpose of Creation. This way, Hashem also becomes the King of the world!

See sicha of Acharon Shel Pesach, 5731



Kavana in Brachos

When we daven, we are supposed to have kavana. We should know what we are saying to Hashem, at least to know what we are talking about.

In Shulchan Aruch, it says that this is even more important when we say a bracha. When we say brachos, we should really know the meaning of every word.

Each name of Hashem also has a meaning that we are supposed to be thinking about:

When we say the name of Hashem of Ad-nay, spelled as Alef-Daled-Nun-Yud, we should have in mind that Hashem is the master of the entire world.

There is a name of Hashem that is spelled Yud-Kay-Vov-Kay (or in a siddur sometimes as just two Yuds), that we pronounce as Ad-nay. When we say this name, we should think about the meaning of Ad-nay, which is that Hashem is the master of the world. We should also think about the meaning of Yud-Kay-Vov-Kay, that Hashem includes all times, past, present, and future.

When we say the name Elokim, we should have in mind that Hashem is strong, and controls everything that happens in Ruchnius and in Gashmius!

See the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, siman Hey

לעילוי נשמת הרה״ח ר׳ דניאל יצחק ע״ה בן ר׳ אפרים שי׳ מאסקאוויץ
שליח כ"ק אדמו"ר נשיא דורנו למדינת אילינוי



The Yidden Will Join Together Again!

After the time of the Shoftim who led the Yidden, they were given the first Yiddishe king, Shaul Hamelech. After him came Dovid Hamelech, and finally Shlomo Hamelech. During the time of Shlomo Hamelech, the first Beis Hamikdash was built!

But something very sad happened after that. Rechavam, Shlomo’s son, was the next king — but not all the Yidden accepted him as king. The Yidden split into two groups:

1) The shevatim of Yehudah and Binyamin followed Rechavam, from Shevet Yehudah, who ruled in Yerushalayim. (Shevet Levi, who worked in the Beis Hamikdash, also followed Rechavam.) This was the group of the Malchei Yehudah.

2) The other ten Shevatim followed Yeravam ben Nevat, from Shevet Efrayim. This was the group of the Malchei Yisrael. The kings of Malchei Yisrael didn’t even let the Yidden who lived there go to the Beis Hamikdash, because they were afraid they would join the Malchei Yehudah.

Unfortunately, the Yidden never joined together again. Over 100 years before the Churban of the first Beis Hamikdash, in the times of the Navi Yeshaya, the ten Shevatim of Malchei Yisrael were taken into Golus by Shalmeneser the king of Ashur. Most of these Shevatim were lost, and we will only find them when Moshiach comes.

Hashem wanted all of the Yidden to know that when Moshiach comes, the ten lost Shevatim will come back, and all of the Yidden will be united again, under one Yiddishe king!

Hashem told the Navi Yechezkel to make a sign to show the Yidden that this would happen:

First, Yechezkel should take two sticks. On one stick he should write “For Yehudah and the Yidden who are with him,” and on the other stick he should write, “For Yosef, Shevet Efrayim, and the Yidden who are with him.”

In front of the Yidden, Yechezkel should hold these two sticks close to each other, and Hashem will make a neis! Both sticks will join together and become one stick.

When the Yidden ask about this neis, the Navi should explain to them that these two sticks are a sign. Hashem promises to take the Yidden who followed a king from Shevet Efrayim (Malchei Yisrael), and have them join together again with the Yidden who followed a king from Shevet Yehudah (Malchei Yehudah). When Moshiach comes, all of the Yidden will again join together as one nation!

Hashem promises:

וְעָשִׂיתִי אֹתָם לְגוֹי אֶחָד בָּאָרֶץ בְּהָרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמֶלֶךְ אֶחָד יִהְיֶה לְכֻלָּם לְמֶלֶךְ וְלֹא יִהְיוּ עוֹד לִשְׁנֵי גוֹיִם וְלֹא יֵחָצוּ עוֹד לִשְׁתֵּי מַמְלָכוֹת עוֹד

Ve’asisi Osam Legoy Echad Ba’aretz — I will make them into one nation in the land

BeHarei Yisrael — In the mountains of Eretz Yisrael.

Umelech Echad Yihiyeh Lechulam — There will be one king for all of them

Velo Yihiyu Od Lishnei Goyim — And they won’t be two separate nations anymore

Velo Yeichatzu Od LiShtei Mamlachos Od — And they won’t be split into two kingdoms anymore.

See Yechezkel perek Lamed-Zayin, posuk Chof-Beis

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